L-3 Communications' Platform Integration division has been approved to begin low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the U.S. Navy's EP-3E Spiral 3-configured aircraft, the company announced Friday. The aircraft includes an upgraded intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission avionics suite. Under the LRIP program, L-3 will manufacture and install this new capability on three EP-3Es.
The successful completion of developmental testing using the L-3-modified prototype EP-3E Spiral 3-configured aircraft provided the basis for the Navy's LRIP decision, according to the company. The operational test phase of this project is currently underway, after which a full-rate production decision will be made regarding the modifications of the remaining aircraft in the EP-3E fleet to the Spiral 3 configuration.
"The EP-3E Spiral 3 program continues to demonstrate the importance of using proven and validated technology insertion to stay ahead of threats," said Nick Farah, acting president of L-3 Platform Integration. "This approach ensures the high-demand EP-3E fleet can meet emerging operational needs using innovative network-centric technology that is adaptable to other platforms."
As part of the Spiral 3 modification, L-3 will install communications intelligence (COMINT) equipment. These modifications improve onboard data analysis and provide real-time tactical intelligence dissemination.